I’ve been spending more time than is usual for me at the local hot yoga studio. I crave Bikram when the weather turns in the Fall and when the blue sky morphs into an unending gray. Though I still think of myself as a runner in terms of my exercise life, in the winter I’m really becoming a Bikram sort of girl. The sensation of lying down on my mat in the still darkened room – this precious place of the no-talking rule – and of feeling my toes begin to curl in the longed-for warmth are ones that I’ve begun to crave. The older I grow, the more averse to cold I feel. When I dwell on the fact that Winter is upon us, I feel cranky, and so in general, I try to ignore Winter and seek instead to bring comfort to myself in whatever ways I can. Bikram and its accompanying warmth feature prominently here.
A good day there in the studio is when I lay down, flat on my back, for our first Savasana and I feel clear. Savasana is the Corpse Pose, which is where one lies on one’s back, heels together, toes splayed apart – deeply relaxed. The backs of one’s hands rest lightly on the mat and palms face loosely upwards. One teacher shone out insight for me when he melodically crooned that we could trust in the floor as it held us up. As he said it, I felt my shoulder blades spread wide and sink deeper down into the floor than I knew was possible before that moment. I felt relaxed on a whole other level. I felt bright and clear as though I were a color. A brightly deep turquoise, perhaps. Something with a back note of profound.
We are instructed to look at one spot on the ceiling and to be fully present – no zoning out – with our eyes open. Some days that’s harder for me than others. Some days, I find my gaze dragging away from my designated spot without fully realizing it. A fuzziness resting somewhere in my peripheral vision seeps in, threatening to obscure my focus. I’m fascinated to note that I can fight it; blinking my eyes helps me to stay clear and strong. On good days, I can’t see the fuzziness at all and I’m reminded of a clear and chilly fall day where the colors are so bold, you can see for miles and miles. The perfect clarity is the day’s defining characteristic.